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Video: Firefighter Killed In Fall Through Church Roof

Video: Firefighter Killed In Fall Through Church Roof

Tabernacle Of Praise church burns in Muncie Ind. Wednesday afternoon. One firefighter was killed in the blaze when the roof collapsed. (Chris Bergin|AP)

Indianapolis Star via YellowBrix

June 16, 2011

MUNCIE — More than three hours after flames sent a church’s sanctuary roof crashing toward the ground, emergency personnel on the scene gathered around a covered body pulled from the still-steaming rubble and saluted their fallen brother.

Scott Davis, a Muncie firefighter and former Yorktown fire chief, died Wednesday afternoon while fighting a blaze at the Tabernacle of Praise.

Davis, married and the father of three, was 40 years old, according to Delaware County Sheriff Michael Scroggins, Davis’ cousin.

State Rep. Dennis Tyler, a retired firefighter, was at the scene of the fire.

“Scott was a great guy,” Tyler said. “He was a great father and husband. He was just doing his job as a public servant.”

Davis is believed to be the first Muncie firefighter to die in the line of duty since 1955.

Two other firefighters were believed to have been injured in the blaze, but their names had not been released. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The fire was reported at 3:51 p.m. at the church at 2200 E. Fuson Road. Its cause is still unknown.

The state fire marshal’s office will be heading the investigation, while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will also participate due to the fire occurring in a church.

By 3:55 p.m., the first of several city fire crews arrived at the church to find flames shooting from the roof. Twenty minutes later, that roof collapsed.

The implosion resulted in a loud boom, followed by the crashing of glass and the screams of onlookers who saw the flames turn into an all-out inferno. One firefighter was seen escaping out of a sanctuary window just seconds after its roof came down.

Fire crews in the back of the building began scrambling as word circulated that a firefighter was possibly trapped under the collapsed roof. Dozens of neighbors, curious onlookers and Tabernacle of Praise members arrived on the scene, some breaking down in tears.

Vince West, a neighbor of the church, said he began watching the church burn before flames were even visible.

West said he was astonished as he witnessed the church’s roof collapse. “It was just phenomenal,” he said. “Fire ravages everything quick. It took that roof quickly.”

At 7:15 p.m., Davis’ body was recovered from the collapsed building and placed inside a waiting ambulance. Officers and firefighters nearby stood at attention and saluted.

About 10 minutes later, a procession of emergency vehicles was organized to follow the ambulance to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

Only a few walls of the sanctuary were still standing as firefighters began leaving the scene around 9 p.m.